January 12, 2010

The Twelve Steps Start Right Where We Are, the Price of Admission

The real secret is this: the program starts right where we are. We don't have to chase step one down. It comes right to us, intact, and we are free to be honest about where we are with it.

Am I powerless over an addiction? Powerless over an addict? Over a dysfunctional family member? Over myself and my emotions? If one of these is an resounding "yes"" then I've done step one and that is enough. As I deepen this understanding, with time and practice, I am open to learning. Step one opens the door to our eventual understanding, head and heart, that we are not where we want to be. And helps us eventually discern how our old ways led us here.

It is our admitting and our acceptance that keeps us here long enough to take away something healing.

If we stay focused on something in the program materials or in a meeting, the program starts to work us right where we are. As soon I encounter resistance to a teaching.... or find willingness, there is a lesson for me to learn that is tailored to me.

When I am mad or bored with a share, there is a lesson for me to learn. I learn about my values, my needs. I see myself in my own mirror if I just watch what I am feeling in my heart of hearts.

When we are ready to move from step one, our heart is what pulls us through. We must want at least one message of the recovery we see in a meeting or on line. Unless we really want it, and unless we believe that someone in the literature, in a meeting or online is an example of that recovery, we will not use this program to its fullest. We will shirk our own responsibility to ourselves by Looking for the Bad (and the wrong)... and find the program lacking.

They say to newcomers that it is important to come to six meetings before giving up hope in the program. We oldtimers pray that the newbie will find a way to look for the good so they will find a hope that works for THEM. So here, maybe it is that we read online a little bit each day... for a week, and then ask, did I find even one or two messages that helped me?

Can I use them as a teaching tool for myself, to get started in my recovery? Can I make a commitment for another week?

When I don't see hope here after a week, maybe the message to me is I need to do this program in less isolation. Maybe I need to work on something off the computer where more of my senses are engaged. Perhaps a counselor is needed, or a doctor, or a group of like-minded individuals.

Just thinking aloud....

Another program mantra of empowerment is that we take what is helpful and leave the rest.

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